Food writer Ruth Reichl shared a new food trend, and she was more surprised than anyone that she was quickly hooked on something called pressed caviar or Payusnaya in Russian.
In an article for Town & Country, Reichl shared how she was convinced that this new form of caviar could be a game-changer. The self-confessed foodie explains that she first tried caviar at 12 without knowing how much the tiny fish eggs cost until her mother stopped her, saying that she had to save some for everyone else.
She says that one day, she stopped in a shop in Beverly Hills, and the proprietor asked if she had ever tried pressed caviar. Reichl admits that she had never heard of it, and the game was afoot.
“Many caviar lovers prefer this to ordinary caviar.”
She explains that she took “a tiny, tentative bite” and it was thrilling. Reichl explains that the expected pop of eggs had been replaced by “a taffylike quality.” It was already a success, and then she heard that the price was a fraction of Beluga, and she adds “I was hooked.”
Pressed caviar is made from the eggs that break during processing. Instead of wasting them, fishermen mix the broken eggs together and turned them into a kind of jam. Because it was in short supply, many enthusiasts would tell others that they wouldn’t like it to keep the secret.
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But in 2005, beluga sturgeon were deemed endangered, and all imports containing beluga caviar from the Caspian and Black Sea basin were banned causing the supply of payusnaya to dry up.
So Reichl said she was thrilled when she heard that an Italian caviar company Calvisius hired Russian women to show them how to make the treat from the eggs of non-banned sturgeon, and a new even denser version called lingotto that has been brought to the United States.
It comes in a bar that resembles a chocolate bar that can be sliced or grated and added to pasta, scrambled eggs, or canapés.
The company sells a 1.2-ounce bar for $99, and it will last 120 days unopened from the ship date and says that “A special drying technique is used that captures all the pure flavors of our caviar. The bold taste is ideal for creating the most refined recipes. It can be grated finely or simply sliced into paper-thin sheets. Perfect on top of potato or pumpkin purées.”
Reichl explains that regardless, pressed caviar is everything a caviar lover could want.